Now that I had been properly washed and oiled up, and my underwear was embedded with godly power, I was about to be taken up to the "chapel" on the second floor of the temple, but first I had to be given my "new name." The only thing about the "new name" that I had known from seminary and institute classes was that it had something to do with being called this on the Morning of the First Resurrection.
When Jesus comes back all of the good people will be resurrected first. So once again, during the zombie apocalypse if you see your dead wife take comfort in the fact that Jesus thought she was really cool before you blow her fucking brains out.
The name I was given was Samuel and I was told "never to divulge my new name until a particular point during the endowment session."
Oops! Oh well, cat's out of the bag now, we might as well move on.
It seemed important that I not forget this new name right after getting it, so I attached the name to the Book of Mormon story about Samuel the Lamanite. This is a really stupid story where Samuel, who is a Lamanite! is called to be a prophet and to go and tell all of his other Lamanite peeps to repent. Samuel is having a hard time getting through to the Lamanites, and they throw his ass out of town. So Samuel climbs the city walls and then just shouts at the Lamanites about how evil they are and that they should repent.
See god was never really good at persuasive writing or speaking. He hadn't yet invented the "shit sandwich" approach to management where you tell someone something good about them (the "bread"), and then you tell them how shitty they are, and then you end with another good thing about them. Instead, he commanded prophets to just yell at everyone about how disgusting and abominable they were, and if the people got defensive (surprise surprise), god would just smite them into smears on the dirt.
And that's how I remembered my new name.
The chapel in the temple is a place where everyone is waiting for the next "session" to begin. You sit in hard pews like a church and listen to some old lady turn what once was a lively drinking song into a funeral dirge on the organ.
Yes, if you weren't aware, most of the protestant hymns were once either drinking songs, patriotic songs, sea chanties, or all three. But protestants ripped off the music and inserted new words about how god's ass tastes like candy and they love it when he tells them to commit genocide against the heathen nations. Slowing down the the music makes it "reverent," and Mormons came along and said, "If you think that's fucking reverent, get a load of this!" And kicked the tempo down a few notches.
Bam! Death March!
Everyone in my family who had already gone through the temple before was waiting for me. Because they had gone through the temple for themselves they were now here as "proxies" for the dead. Mormons believe that these ordinances are so important to god that everyone needs them done in order for a chance at "eternal salvation." So once you do your ordinances you can go back through the temple and have it done for dead people. Even Jesus Christ, Holocaust non-survivors, and Hitler have had their "temple work" done. Jesus was baptized, but the scriptures don't talk about his "washing and anointing" or "endowment" or being "sealed" in marriage to some lucky broad - perhaps all those catholic nuns.
When it was time for the session to start we were taken super duper reverently into the room for the ordinance which was just a room with several rows of chairs that all faced an upholstered altar and behind it was a big curtain.
All the men sit on the right, and all the women sit on the left. Everyone is wearing all white, including all of the temple workers, and once everyone was seated the endowment starts with a big voice coming from speakers that remind us that we are in the fucking temple so show some goddamn respect and if we don't like it - get the fuck out now.
I didn't know what to think or expect. The "washing and anointing" was weird, but this was supposed to be the pinnacle of spirituality even though I had no idea what was coming. Why would I leave now before knowing what was going to happen?
The curtains rolled back to reveal a big movie screen and a movie started to play. If I had one Youtube wish, it would be that the Mormon temple movie was leaked. After awhile, it was obvious why my mother told me not to laugh. Mormonism may hate gays, but for this movie, it HAS to be self-hatred. Talk about camp! Even the Adam West Batman was straighter than this production.
The movie is a retelling of the creation story from parts of Genesis and the Mormon scriptures of the Book of Abraham and the Book of Moses. Synopses wise, god the father (Elohim), Jesus (Jehova), and Adam (the Archangel Michael) all took part in creating this world. One of the big themes to this movie is that heaven works like a large bureaucracy. Elohim tells Jehova what to do who in turn tells Michael the exact same fucking thing, and then Michael does this and then reports back to Jehova what he's done, and then Jesus tells god the exact same god damn thing that Michael just told him. Later in the movie when Peter, James, and John enter - the same process is repeated. Orders are given with the phrase, "return and report" and then the middle man repeats them down the chain of command until the grunts actually do the work and then "return and report" and this "report" gets repeated up the chain until Elohim is satisfied. Any one who has worked for a large corporation or a large bureaucracy probably sees that movie and thinks, "Fuck, I hate my job."
Elohim and Jehova live on another planet and the setting is like a cheap rip off of Krypton from the 1978 Superman movie. The two wear white shining robes, have white shining beards and hair, and what looks like gold spray painted sandals.
Once earth has been populated with plants, animals, and disease ridden insects it was time for Michael to become Adam. He is placed on the earth as the first man and given amnesia because that's not a fucking cliched plot device.
Adam wakes up and is like, "Whoa! Where the fuck am I?" and Elohim and Jehova are like, "Oh, shit! We forgot to make chicks, dude. Let's make a chick," and they make Adam fall asleep so they can rip out his rib and bio-engineer a smoking hot bitch "Weird Science" style.
Now Adam and Eve are walking around the garden always hiding behind large bushes and picking up huge lambs so that no one gets a raging hard on from their nakedness. And don't worry. Adam and Eve are white, ok? None of this science bullshit about coming from Africa and that dark skin came first and was a simple adaptation to the sun and as "human ancestors" spread across the globe, their skin changed as less melanin was needed.
Nope. Bullshit. God, Adam, Eve were all white until Cain needed to be cursed and became the first black man, and Mormons don't believe that Satan was literally a talking snake in the Garden of Eden. That would be stupid. Instead Mormons believe that Satan was once called "Lucifer," was our spiritual brother, and had offered Elohim a "Plan of Salvation" where Lucifer would FORCE everyone to be good so that everyone could be saved. Elohim and Jehova thought this was the dumbest idea that they had ever heard and Jehova offered an alternate plan where people had the CHOICE to be good and choose Mormonism saving approximately 0.02% of the world's current population. Elohim thought this was way better, Lucifer got pissed off, there was a big family argument like it was Thanksgiving and Lucifer was "cast down" to earth with 1/3 of the spirits that we were all apart of before being born. Mormons believe that we were all "spiritual beings" BEFORE we were born. And I'm sorry to get all Silmarillion on your ass, but you need to understand this shit to understand the temple.
So Adam and Eve are in the garden naked but not having sex and Satan shows up to tempt them to eat from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Satan makes a compelling argument to Eve, and she eats it. She then gets Adam to eat it, and then Elohim and Jehova show up and act all confused, demanding to know what in sweet Cthulhu's name is going on. Having eaten the fruit to negate dumbassery Satan reminds Adam and Eve that their swimsuit areas are not covered by anything and to put on some fig leaves. Adam and Even obey Satan and put on aprons of fig leaves. The movie stops and the audience is then instructed to also obey Satan and put on their green apron.
The movie starts up again and Adam confesses that he ate the fruit because Eve gave it to him throwing her under the bus, Eve confesses to eating the fruit and that she had been "tricked" by Satan throwing him under the bus, and Satan is like, "What the fuck, man? If these two ignorant nudists don't eat the fruit - YOUR plan won't ever come about."
Elohim throws Satan out like he's too drunk at the local pub, and Satan sulks away as if saying, "Goddammit, I can't do anything right." And then Elohim kicks Adam and Eve out of the garden because they can't obey two contradictory commands - don't eat from the Tree of Knowledge because then you'll know that making children involves putting your ding dong in your partner's who-who. And also hump that bitch to make me some fucking grand kids already.
Adam and Eve are now kicked out of the awesome Garden of Eden (which to be fair they were too stupid to appreciate having not eaten the fruit) and now were placed in the "lone and dreary world." That's the movie's description of this planet, and one of the things it actually got right. Even though they had now eaten of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, ironically Adam and Eve have no fucking clue what to do, and so Adam builds an altar and prays to god stating, "Oh, god. Hear the words of my mouth."
Satan answers Adams prayers and tells him that if Adam wants religion - he's got it and at rock bottom prices. Adam pouts because he misses talking to his daddy, and wants the truth and not just religion. And at this point Elohim and Jehova think that it's time to once again tell Adam what to do and how to live his life. They send down Peter, James, and John (yes, the ones from the Bible) to have Adam covenant with god. At this point the ceremony changes from an episode of Mystery Science 3000 to a slumber party where you promise god you'll be his BFF for ever, and what you'll do for his church.
A couple in the audience goes up to the "alter" representing Adam and Eve, and the temple worker in front of them represents god. The covenant is explained and then everyone in the audience is instructed to stand up, raise our arms to the square, bow our heads and say, "Yes" in order to covenant the same thing.
Now keeping promises isn't good enough for god apparently because in order to get into god's exclusive eternal night club you have to know the secret signs and handshakes to get passed the angel bouncers. So once you make a covenant with god in the temple, he gives you a sign to make with your hands and then a super secret handshake that represents that particular covenant. And the handshakes were lame. God must be white, we can put that debate to rest, no black god would make a super secret handshake about putting a thumb over the first knuckle or grasping hands with pinkies extended.
And the rest of the endowment ceremony is pretty much that. You get dressed in your stupid robes, sash, and baker's hat, you promise god you won't fuck anyone else other than your wife (wives because as a dude you can have more than one during the eternities. And they can be YOUNG as Hell too. God did it with Mary and Joseph Smith did it with Helen Mar Kimball), and then you get the sign and handshake that accompanies whatever you just promised.
The first time through, it was really weird. Mormonism doesn't have a lot of rituals, but this was ritual to the extreme. Dress up, covenants, "signs," "tokens," but I didn't get creeped out until the covenant that I was promising to avoid all "loud laughter" and "light mindedness."
What the fuck? Why would god give a shit about that? And to give it its own specific covenant. I started to feel a little sick - god didn't want me to be me. And the stupid handshakes and body symbols came with a promise to not ever "divulge them" because "god will not be mocked!"
Well if god didn't want to be mocked, he should have thought about that before making his ceremony chalk full of assclownery.
But that thought turned to horror when I made the last covenant. The Law of Consecration.
Any Mormon who's paid at least a little attention knows this law. This law is about giving all of your stuff and everything you could ever make with your hands or brain to god's church in order to build up his kingdom on earth. God was all powerful and all knowing, but he needed your shit for his kingdom. You were his fucking serf, and you better not only promise that but be happy about it too. Because as Satan warned in the ceremony, if you didn't "live up to every commandment and every covenant made in this temple, you would be in (his) power."
My body wanted to puke, but I bowed my head and said, "yes" anyway to that covenant. I had already gone this far, and god wasn't an asshole, right? I mean he created the universe with all of its super massive black holes and pulsars, what the fuck did he want with my Custom Series S Ibanez six string with a Floyd Rose System and comic books?
After all of the covenant making, the ceremony had gone on for quite some time. I was tired but still had to learn about "the True Order of Prayer" and "pass through the veil" and I just wanted to go home.
The "True Order of Prayer" was a circle of men and women from the audience who gathered in a circle ordering man, woman, man, woman where the women veiled their faces and each person raised their right arm to the square resting the elbow on the next person's shoulder and repeated word for word the prayer given by the temple worker to bless shit, the prophet of the church, and sick people.
After that it was time to see if we were paying attention and we went to the "veil" at the back where a temple worker was behind the curtain that had the same symbols as the garments did. We were told that the "V" symbol on the garment was like a compass pointing to god (why it didn't point up?- whatever), and that the backwards "L" stood for "exactness" in our thoughts and actions for god, and that the horizontal line above the knee symbolized that eventually "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ."
Good. One day those unbelievers can suck a bag of dicks and they'll see that we were right all along, those stupid twats.
We were escorted to the veil and gave a very precise script dealing with showing each and every secret handshake and it's symbolic meaning. A temple worker was there to make sure that you got every line correct and when it came to the last handshake most of the symbolism was very similar to the washing and anointing where you were promised health and strength in various body parts. Once you had gotten everything right, "Elohim" took your hand and brought you through the veil where you were now in the "Celestial room" representing the highest degree of heaven - the ultimate reward for all your sacrifices to god in this life.
The endowment ceremony is supposed to be symbolic of each life. It is supposed to be about the nature of creation, god, religion, and man's place in the universe. And so the ceremony is confusing, full of lies and half truths, at times horrifying, you make promises that you can never live up to, and once it's done NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IT. Instead your family is there to greet you after 'death' surrounding you and says, "Congratulations. It's over and you made it. Now let's all go to Village Inn to get cheap 'Belgian Waffles' and we'll never speak of this again."